PARIS – A former prisoner in Guantanamo has been prevented from boarding a flight in Lyon, France for conferences in Montreal because the aircraft would fly through U.S. airspace.
Mourad Benchellali, who addresses youth groups in Europe in a bid to dissuade them from jihad, was prevented from boarding an Air Transat flight Thursday.
The Canadian airline said because the flight was to fly through U.S. airspace "our personnel had to, and duly applied" the Secure Flight program, which checks passenger lists against the U.S. "No Fly" list.
Benchellali was released from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in July 2004. He uses his experience at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan as lesson for youth tempted by the Islamic State group's savvy recruiting campaign for jihad.
Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed.